Palo Alto eyes former water-treatment site for interim housing | August 6, 2021 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - August 6, 2021

Palo Alto eyes former water-treatment site for interim housing

City Council to consider applying for Project Homekey funding to support unhoused individuals

by Gennady Sheyner

Inspired by Mountain View's example, Palo Alto may explore a new idea to assist the city's growing population of unhoused residents: a homeless shelter with more than 100 beds on a city-owned site on San Antonio Road, east of U.S. Highway 101.

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Email Staff Writer Gennady Sheyner at [email protected]


Posted by Megan Swezey Fogarty
a resident of Midtown
on Aug 4, 2021 at 9:18 pm

Megan Swezey Fogarty is a registered user.

I visited the Mountain View site and was incredibly impressed. Thank you LifeMoves for your leadership.

Posted by Bystander
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 5, 2021 at 8:25 am

Bystander is a registered user.

This does sound a good site for this.

Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 5, 2021 at 4:09 pm

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

This site is FAR from ideal given that the homeless population is best served by access to public transit and city services. Homeless shelters actually lower crime rates rather than raise them. Moving homeless people to the outskirts is counterproductive and based on ignorant assumptions.

That said, it's about TIME that Palo Alto finally agreed to speak with LifeMoves. LifeMoves has been actively seeking out a public official in Palo Alto for six months, but until now, Palo Alto Staff & City Council refused to take a meeting. I know this because I had been trying to help set up this meeting for months, and every City Council member and every City Staff members refused to respond to my emails and calls. It was shameful. *Every single city official & staff refused.*

If LifeMoves is still willing to work with Palo Alto, we all should be grateful to that exceptional organization for their patience and tolerance for Palo Alto's indifference -- on top of all of the other reasons to be grateful to LifeMoves for all of the essential, life-changing services it provides.

But why again does the City continue to try to involve the County? All parties who know about temporary shelter and HomeKey (including Santa Clara County and LifeMoves) have made it clear that CITIES not counties are the appropriate applicant for HomeKey funding.

Sometimes I wonder if all this is just lip service (again) by the City Council; that they intentionally are disregarding the advice they have been given for almost 2 years in order to sabotage the project that finally would provide at least ONE shelter bed for PA's large and growing unhoused population. Or, can it be that Palo Alto staff and elected officials truly are too incompetent to get things done correctly? I'm guessing we never will know.

What we do know is that MV got it done in 3 months, as Palo Alto delays and falters. We also know that California is offering $1 billion for housing, so Palo Alto should be doing much more.

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 5, 2021 at 8:02 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

The MV site is in an industrial location removed from the center of the city. It was funded by the state. The MV site is in a location that was programmed for upgrade. It is next to industrial equipment for rental. PA has a location next to T&C - the Navigation Center. PA does not have a commercial district except the PA Business park at 101 and San Antonio - east side. That is a good location for some housing. Problem is that area has a potential flooding problem.

Posted by Rebecca Eisenberg
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 6, 2021 at 2:50 am

Rebecca Eisenberg is a registered user.

Commercial and industrial districts are NOT good locations for transitional housing. As I said above, per LifeMoves and all other homeless transitional service providers, transitional homeless are far more likely to get back on their feet if shelters are located close to public transit and city services.

Mountain View admits that its site location is not ideal, but Mountain View had far fewer choices than Palo Alto in terms of sites.

I'm not sure if the article clarified this, but Mountain View actually used HomeKey funds to purchase the site it used for the shelters. Palo Alto easily could do the same with HomeKey funds.

It is illogical and misleading for the Palo Alto City Council -- and this publication in turn -- to cite the cost of creating and running these shelters. The entire point of HomeKey -- which again, to repeat, is giving away A BILLION DOLLARS in funding -- is to provide the money to fund these programs.

Accordingly, with a HomeKey grant, the cost to acquire a suitable site and to place temporary shelters on said suitable site is close to zero. Given that providing shelter for transitional homeless is virtually cost-free to Palo Alto, why hasn't our City done so? Because our leadership is not interested in providing shelter for the homeless. It's that simple .

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 6, 2021 at 8:03 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

We obviously have representatives of special interest groups whose job is to sell a concept that may fit a different city and use the different city qualfications as a point in argument. The city of Mountain View - end to end has demographics, tax base, and development issues which are totally different than PA. Google is busy remaking MV and San Jose and is busy trying to move the homeless out of their city to reduce their number count. This was an accusation concerning San Diegeo in the recall debate. Please quit trying to sell MV - they are politiking with the state regarding San Jose and making deals. I find it irrationale to try and manhandle PA given that it is border to border residential properties. The commercial section on San Antonio and Fabian is not negotiable. That leaves the Caltrain route which at this time it being totally built out and under discussion with builders.
In this irrational debate possibly the protagonist can point out where specifically they are looking for their golden opportunity. School system properties are not a qualifier for homeless encampments. Quit selling MV - that is irrationale. There is no comparison to PA regarding any relevent issues regarding available land, tax base, political outlook, and governmental issues.

Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Aug 6, 2021 at 3:21 pm

Anonymous is a registered user.

I oppose housing the homeless in the Baylands. Fires have been set over by Facebook by homeless/transients; this location is adjacent the MV Baylands and PA Baylands Nature Preserve. Low elevation and NATURE.
No police or work nearby; will someone try to walk across 101 on San Antonio? Not a safe idea.
Major downtowns such as San Jose and SF are far more suited to providing the 24 hour services this population needs.
PA already offers the Opportunity Center and MV has the day worker center; these are sufficient to offer this locality.
Attractiing more vehicles to PA/MV border seems silly: it doesn’t help them, really, or us in nearby residential and commercial and JCC. What it will need is a lot of police being sent out there.
Btw, the city’s “growing population of homeless residents!?”
- there are jobs on offer everywhere; perhaps a cheaper locale makes sense; moving into PA is a high hurdle for most people and perhaps this isn’t the time, if one is a transient. Or have PA factories shut down, throwing hundreds out of employment!?
What’s more, the idiotic idea that one is entitled to live right near where one works….most people change jobs!

Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Aug 7, 2021 at 11:04 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

People keep making a point that this city is doing something wrong concerning housing. Please note that:
1. Alma and the Caltrain tracks are next to apartments from end to end.
2. ECR has multi-unit buildings from end to end, exclusive of SU property.
3. Downtown PA has multi-unit apartments in the vicinity of University and Hamilton.
4. THe city has "planned residential zones" from end to end in the city.
5. Market areas - downtown, mid-town, Charleston have multi-unit apartments in the direct vicinity.

From where I am sitting this city has met all of the planning requirements being discussed - and has been before PAF and other advocates ever started talking - trying to sell what is already there. And they get paid to do that - amazing.
Then they go down and get articles in the paper about how they are going to save the city from itself. They are all getting paid to do that.

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